The first was Mrs. Samolitis, or "Sam," as everyone called her. She was just 4 months shy of her 95th birthday, but don't let that number fool you. She mowed her own lawn, walked her 2 dogs, swept her sidewalk, and was always out trimming her bushes in the alley. You spotted her almost every day, and when the mail lady saw that the delivery from the day before hadn't been removed from the mailbox, she called the police immediately. Sam, always got her mail, something had to be wrong. Turns out she had taken a shower in her basement, slipped and fell coming up the steps, hit her head on the way down, and that was that. She was not adverse to throwing a little spicy language out, and my husband and I can just hear her saying, "Son-em-bitchin' steps," as she took her last breath. Who knows how long she would have continued on without this unfortunate mishap. She knew all the gossip in the neighborhood and would lean forward to give it to you in a loud whisper. The neighborhood just doesn't seem the same without her. Door closed to her house, dogs not barking--too many "non" things happening as I walk past her address.
Next door to us was Betty. She is gone at only 45 years of age. I'm not sure what in the universe or destiny gives you this many years while someone else gets double that. Why one person is able to go in a poof, like Sam, while others have to suffer over years before they can leave. I once read that sometimes you are given a longer route out if you need to make amends or if your sudden departure would be too painful to those around you. I'm sure that the latter reason held true for Betty. She had a home-based daycare and took care of a quite a cadre of kids over the years. I still can hear their little voices calling out, "Betty," and it seems unimaginable that I won't hear that anymore. )-:
And finally, do you remember my post on Day 97, "Fish Scale Skies and an Ostrich Tree" (http://livedrawpaint.blogspot.com/2013/04/day-97-fish-scale-skies-and-ostrich-tree.html)? Just last week, I was walking by that tree and it was covered in green leaves. I thought, can I still see its face? I checked and I could! It was still standing guard over the neighborhood, only now it had put on its clothes of green foliage. But yesterday, I stopped dead in my tracks. I...looked, and was confused. I slowly walked over to it's location, and stood there staring. It was gone. I mean, completely gone. There were only a few pieces of mulch laying on the ground where it had once stood. I, kid you not, I looked around me. Was I standing in the wrong spot? Am I in the twilight zone? They...cut it down?! This beautiful tree with so much personality?
My co-workers make fun of me at work, because I imbue inanimate objects with feelings. I guess my personification goes too far for them. I think, poor little paperclip on the floor--I will pick you up and make sure you're used. I feel bad when people take paper from a new ream and put it on top of the old paper in the printer. What the heck? That old paper was excited about being used...it was on the brink of fulfilling its destiny and now it has to wait again? (I know this sounds crazy, but whatev'.)
So, you can imagine how sad I felt for this actual living tree. I wonder, am I part American-Indian? The loss of that tree spirit—our leafy guardian! I remember taking a history class on American Indians in college. Their spirits so proud and respectful of nature--something so much a part of themselves that they called it "Mother."
I saw the homeowner today. I said to her wistfully, “You cut down your tree!” She said, yes it had been growing into her garage. (But she doesn't use the garage, her car is always parked outside. The garage is 7' x 7'--max!) I told her how much I loved it and how it looked like it was watching over us. She told me how much the squirrels loved it, too, but it had to go. Really? Sob.
I don't know. I guess I just want to say goodbye Sam and Betty and Ostrich tree, and a dead squirrel in the road. All of you were special, never to be repeated, and it hurts and matters to me that you're gone.